“Steve Rogers doesn’t represent a genericized America but rather a very specific time and place – 1930’s New York City. We know he was born July 4, 1920 (not kidding about the 4th of July) to a working-class family of Irish Catholic immigrants who lived in New York’s Lower East Side. This biographical detail has political meaning: given the era he was born in and his class and religious/ethnic background, there is no way in hell Steve Rogers didn’t grow up as a Democrat, and a New Deal Democrat at that, complete with a picture of FDR on the wall.”
At Lawyers, Guns, & Money, Steven Attewell reminds us that Captain America has always been an FDR progressive. “[U]nlike other patriotic superheroes (like Superman, for example), Captain America is meant to represent the America of the Four Freedoms, the Atlantic Charter, and the Second Bill of Rights – a particular progressive ideal.”
Which reminds me, I was glad to see Cap so obviously take arms against the post-9/11 GWOT surveillance/preemption apparatus in Captain America: The Winter Soldier a few weeks ago. CA:TWS is top-tier Marvel, right next to The Avengers and Iron Man, and an even better film than the quality first installment. I particularly enjoyed the second-act twists involving Operation Paperclip and a UNIVAC, and if nothing else, the movie has furnished us with another very funny meme in “Hail Hydra.”
That being said, the third act slips off the rails some — state-of-the-art aircraft carriers with easily penetrable overrides, ho-hum — and the death count here, while not as egregious as in Man of Steel, still veers well into the absurd. When it comes time to face Ultron, how ’bout going easy with those grenades, Cap.
“‘Dreadstar is one of the most important comics on the 1980s, paving the way for creators to control their own creations,’ said Gilmore. “‘After decades of Jim exercising that control and turning away countless Hollywood suitors, I’m excited he’s trusting me and J.C. to do it right.’”
Proving yet again that we live in the Golden Age of fanboydom, there’s apparently movement afoot to make a film out of Jim Starlin’s Dreadstar(!) Dreadstar — one-part Blake’s 7, one-part Conan, two-parts Star Wars — was one of my favorite comics as a kid, and the only one I remember writing a letter to, explaining my (wrong) theory about who the traitor on the team was.)
To be honest, even now in the midst of the comic-film invasion, it’s hard to imagine a Dreadstar movie making any bank — Hopefully Oedi brings in the kitteh-minded folk. But I would’ve said the same about Guardians of the Galaxy, so what do I know.
The second trailer for Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past is now online
, starring both the original
and First Class
crew of mutants.
Hrm…I could still see this one going either way. Next to the Dark Phoenix saga, Days of Future Past is probably the quintessential X-Men tale, but this seems overstuffed, and screenwriter Simon Kinberg’s work on X3 does not inspire confidence.
Update: The third trailer has now dropped as well, along with this spiffy “25 Moments” sites chronicling the recent milestones in mutant history, a la Watchmen.
Fortunately, Charlie Brown and Snoopy seem to be themselves in the first teaser for Steve Martino’s Peanuts
, executive produced by Paul Feig of Freaks and Geeks
. “[T]here’s a big effort to preserve Schulz’s ‘sweet optimism’…’Snoopy will not be rapping, no one will be twerking, we’re in good hands.’
“Criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot. I must be a creature. I must be a creature of the night…I shall become a shark.” Iconic Batman villains reconceived as cartoon sharks
, by artist Jeff Victor
. Mr. Freeze’s goldfish is a nice touch.
“The discovery indicates that more water can be found throughout the transition zone — the portion of the Earth’s mantle where the diamond originated. One percent might not seem like a lot but, according to Pearson, ‘when you realize how much ringwoodite there is, the transition zone could hold as much water as all the Earth’s oceans put together.’”
They dug too greedily and too deep…In a small Brazilian diamond, scientists find some potential evidence of vast reservoirs of water deep below the Earth’s surface (otherwise known as R’lyeh, where dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.) The Abyss pic above notwithstanding, “geologist Hans Keppler told Agence France-Presse that scientists should be cautious in concluding so much from such a small sample, and adds that it is likely the water is trapped in molecular form in certain rocks.” (Via High/LowIndustrial.)
“For her Steam in the Willows illustrations, Brennan takes as her inspiration the industrial era in which Grahame was writing, but chooses to celebrate artisanal technology in lieu of mass production.”
Lauren Davis of io9 offers some glimpses of artist Krista Brennan’s forthcoming steampunk rendering of The Wind in the Willows. Makes sense. Mr. Toad is as steampunk as it gets this side of Jules Verne.
This still ain’t no place for no hero
: The Scarecrow threatens Gotham, and Bruce Wayne gets a spiffy new Batmobile, as Rocksteady Games announces Arkham Knight
, the fourth and final installment in the excellent Arkham
series, now enhanced with XBox-One-level graphics. There goes another fifty hours.
“‘I love to document everyday things and build them into mini-series,’ Whyte says…As soon as my kids discovered the camera accessory at the Lego store, which fits in the hand of a mini-figure, I worked out a way to start placing the character in my day-to-day shots and he became a cohesive element.’”
Fast Company‘s Joe Berkowitz and photographer Andrew Whyte chronicle the adventures of an intrepid Lego photojournalist. “Despite his diminutive size, this little guy seems to have had some big adventures. He scales buildings, he’s chased by a hermit crab, and slips on a giant (to him) banana peel.”
There’ve been a lot of casting rumors floating around, but this one does have the imprimatur of Variety
: Has Adam Driver been cast as the next Star Wars villain
? “Exact details are unknown, but the character is said to be in the vein of iconic ‘Star Wars’ villain Darth Vader.”
Er…Driver seems like a solid actor, actually — he’s probably the most likable aspect of Girls. But I’m not sure he has the presence to be the Big Bad. And I expected someone older if they’re going the Grand Admiral Thrawn route.
“It’s still one of the greatest magazines about science fiction of all time.”
iO9′s Charlie Jane Anders points the way to a fully-searchable online archive of Starlog Magazine
. The “internet before the internet,” as one of the commenters well put it, Starlog
was one of the staples of my childhood (and the magazine that, since I was living overseas when it came out, spoiled Return of the Jedi
and several other movies rotten for me.)
“[T]he film would follow John and Aeryn’s son, D’Argo (or Little D, as we will always refer to him). Because their baby was exhibiting a set of interesting powers that made him a magnet for galactic villains, we find that John and Aeryn hide their son on Earth to grow up. Now the kid is 19 and ready to go into space with his parents.”
I’ll believe it when I see it. Nonetheless, word comes that a possible Farscape movie is in the works. “Monjo is [also] said to be writing a show that would star Dinklage as a dwarf detective for HBO.” Er…wouldn’t “detective for HBO” get the point across?
Also in Sci-Fi TV news, Peter Capaldi’s forthcoming Doctor gains an additional companion in Samuel Anderson. “Anderson will play Danny Pink, a teacher at Coal Hill School where companion Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) also teaches.” — Coal Hill also being the school the Doctor’s granddaughter attended way back in 1963. (Also not surprising that, to compensate for the lack of a “good boyfriend” doctor, they’d add an age-appropriate foil for Clara.)
Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four
reboot staffs up with Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Miles Teller, and Jamie Bell
. Eh…I get that they’re skewing for a younger crowd than fanboys-approaching-40, and Bell, Jordan, and Mara are all quality actors, I suppose. (Hopefully, this proves to be a more auspicious quartet for Jordan than Wallace, Bodie, Poot, and D’Angelo
.) But, while I haven’t seen The Spectacular Now
, I’m not feeling the guy playing Mr. Fantastic at all. Where’s the gravitas? This looks like something on the CW.
“What a bunch of A-holes.”
James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy get their long-awaited trailer debut
, with Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Batista, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, John C. Reilly, Peter Serafinowicz, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro, and the voices of Vin Diesel (Groot) and Bradley Cooper (Rocket).
“Lipinski glided around the rink in a white v-neck and bathrobe, all while holding a White Russian. Yes, there is a beverage there, man. I like pretty much all things Lebowski-related, so I support this, but feel compelled to call bullshit on that not being a real White Russian. Unless they just used really heavy cream in it, which would be very Dudelian.”
Can’t say I’m a big watcher of the Olympics — I don’t think I saw a single second of the London games in 2012, but I was in dissertation mode then — and particularly the Winter Olympics. But you know what would get me to partake? More Lebowski-themed numbers. Tara Lipinski channels the Dude for Jimmy Fallon’s last week at 12:30 (who, Roots be damned, bid his farewell with Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.)
“What’s great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain. He’s a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman. Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions.”
In a surprising twist, Zack Snyder announces Jesse Eisenberg as Batman v. Superman‘s Lex Luthor (and, in more conventional casting, Jeremy Irons as Alfred.) Hrm. Well, I like the outside-the-box risk taken here, provided Eisenberg isn’t just reprising his role from The Social Network. (Image above via AICN talkbacker JayEskimo.)
Also in comic news, I forgot to post this last update: Empire
issues 25(!) different character covers for Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past
, including, above, Ian McKellen’s Magneto, Peter Dinklage’s Bolivar Trask, and an admirably creepy Sentinel from the future. Some of these are better than others, and in all honesty I’d rather see Matthew Vaughn helming this project, but here’s hoping this is close to Singer’s X2
“‘The world doesn’t change. The balance of evil will always be the same,” he said in an interview with The New York Times in 2001…’I think all the poets and artists have always written for peace and love, and it hasn’t changed much in the last two or three thousand years. But we hope.’” Maximillian Schell
His many Nazi turns aside, Schell will always be a part of my mental landscape because of his Dr. Reinhardt in The Black Hole, which is one trippy little number to lay on a five-year-old kid. A Disney movie — clearly geared for the Star Wars set — where the bad guy ends up perched on the cliffs of Hell, trapped for eternity inside his killer robot? They don’t make them like they used to.
“Lifelong Doctor Who fan Capaldi said: ‘He’s woven the future from the cloth of the past. Simple, stark, and back to basics. ‘No frills, no scarf, no messing, just 100% rebel Time Lord.’ Doctor Who boss Steven Moffat said the new era meant for a new outfit. He said: ‘Monsters of the universe, the vacation is over — Capaldi is suited and booted and coming to get you.’”
Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor has chosen his duds and, as the comparison above by Tom Spilsbury illustrates, he’s gone pretty Pertwee — which is fine by me. As far as my favorite Doctors go, Jon Pertwee is a close second to Tom Baker. Anyway, very crisp, clean lines. I like it.
Also I neglected to post this earlier, but here’s Moffat on where the show is going with Twelve: “The last two Doctors have been brilliant, and have been your ‘good boyfriend’ Doctors. But the Doctor isn’t always like that. There is the sort of Tom Baker, Christopher Eccleston end of the spectrum, where he is mad and dangerous and difficult…We need the kick-up-the-arse Doctor, in a way, to frighten you and make you think, oh, it’s a different show again.” Yes, please.
“And then the Enterprise also travels to the planet where everybody dresses like David Byrne in
Stop Making Sense.”
From successful sci-fi costuming
to something of the more hit-and-miss variety, io9 takes a gander at the costumes of the first three Star Trek: The Next Generation seasons
. Points for creativity, I suppose.
“We know that Miles O’Brien had a lot more fun serving aboard Deep Space Nine than he did aboard the Enterprise, and these ennui-filled comics help explain why. Hanging out alone in the transporter room all day is bound to drive a fellow a bit mad.”
Need more ST:TNG-related humor? io9 also recently pointed the way to this amusing webcomic about Chief O’Brien’s daily grind (before getting reassigned to Deep Space Nine.) Can an actual honest-to-goodness Colm Meaney cameo be far behind?
Continuing Marvel’s trend of outside-the-box, tone-perfect casting, Paul Rudd will play Ant-Man for Edgar Wright
, presumably as Scott Lang and not Henry Pym. “Wright’s original plans for the film called for both Pym and the later Ant-Man of the comics, Scott Lang, to appear in the feature…’[We] see Pym as Ant-Man in action in the 60′s, in sort of “Tales to Astonish” mode basically, and then the contemporary, sort of flash-forward, is Scott Lang’s story, and how he comes to acquire the suit, how he crosses paths with Henry Pym, and then, in an interesting sort of Machiavellian way, teams up with him.’”
Important to note, the casting of Paul Rudd means we now also have a teaser for Edgar Wright’s ANT-MAN. (If that didn’t make any sense to you, see this.) Also, word is Ant-Man’s insectophile colleague, the Wasp, might well be played by Rashida Jones, Rudd’s I Love You, Man co-star (and a college acquaintance of mine). Good choice!
Update: “I’ve been dying to do a Marvel picture for so long. The script is really fun, the director is really good.” Ant-Man gets its Henry Pym in Michael Douglas.
As a follow-up to the ambitious and underrated Cloud Atlas
, the siblings Wachowski return to their manga-centric sci-fi roots in this first trailer for Jupiter Ascending
, with Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, and James D’Arcy. Hrm…looks a bit like The Fifth Element
, art direction wise, and Kunis sure does seem to fall off things a lot. Anyway, I’m in.
Also in the trailer bin of late, Spiderman (Andrew Garfield) makes at least three more enemies — we’ll get to a Sinister Six
soon, no doubt — in Rhino (Paul Giamatti), Electro (Jamie Foxx) and the Green Goblin (Dane De Haan) in the first teaser for Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spiderman 2
, also with Emma Stone, Sally Field, and Campbell Scott. After Chronicle
, The Place Beyond the Pines
, and Kill Your Darlings
, I’m a mite tired of DeHaan, to be honest, but I’ll grant that his schtick does work well for Harry Osborne.
Update: And another I missed on the first sweep: David Strathairn gamely rallies the paratroopers in the atmospheric trailer for Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla reboot, also with Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins and Ken Watanabe. I prefer the leaked one with the Oppenheimer voiceover (“I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds,” bringing the thunder lizard back to its Hiroshima roots), but I can see how that might’ve been too edgy for a summer blockbuster.
Update 2: Tom Cruise cosplays Starcraft, and gets some mechanized infantry pro-tips from Emily Blunt, in the first trailer for Doug Liman’s The Edge of Tomorrow, a badly-named adaptation of Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s All You Need is Kill. Eh, maybe.
Update 3: Matthew McConaughey and Christopher Nolan celebrate the dream of flight in a brief and relatively vague teaser for Interstellar, also with Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, Michael Caine, Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace, John Lithgow, David Gyasi, Wes Bentley, and David Oyelowo. As it says, one year from now.
Update 4: Speaking of gamely rallying folks, Gary Oldman tries to get San Francisco’s few remaining humans to chin up against those damn dirty apes in the first teaser for Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, also with Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Judy Greer, and, of course, Andy Serkis. The first one was surprisingly ok, and this can’t be worse than Oldman’s last dystopian epic, The Book of Eli, so I’ll likely matinee it.
Update 5: A few more come down the pike for the holiday film season: First up, computer genius Johnny Depp goes the way of the The Lawnmower Man in this short teaser for Wally Pfister’s Transcendence, also with Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Morgan Freeman, Kate Mara, Cillian Murphy, Clifton Collins Jr., and Cole Hauser. The Matrix-style binary is a bit of a cliché at this point, but Pfister has done memorable work as Nolan’s cinematographer, so I’m optimistic.
And, following up on the first trailer of a few months ago, Wes Anderson introduces us to the cast of characters of The Grand Budapest Hotel, among them Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Almaric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saiorse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson, and Tony Revolori.
Israeli actress Gal Gadot is cast as Wonder Woman for Zach Snyder’s Man of Steel
follow-up (which people have been calling Batman v. Superman
, but now seems to be Batman v. Superman v. Wonder Woman v. Lex Luthor v. Doomsday
or somesuch.) “Variety adds you can probably expect ‘several members of the Justice League’ to make appearances in the film.”
This seems like a role that Jaimie Alexander was born to play, but I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve seen more of Gadot — She was apparently in Knight and Day but I have no memory of her.